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I didn't have approval privileges, but I was able to help them clean out a lot of spam submissions in their backlog (a really tedious job), which finally allowed our submission to rise to the top of the list and get approved by the main editor.
The verdict: We get virtually zip traffic from it. I don't know if it helps our Google and Yahoo relevancy ranking or PageRank, but I tend to doubt it. I wouldn't worry about getting in.
I do recommend buying your way into Yahoo: that paid off big for our Yahoo rankings.
One method that is well-supported by the software is: site suggestions. Any site visitor can suggest a site to any category.
The site suggestion system, like other methods of finding sites, is rather inefficient -- the large majority of suggestions obviously could not ever be of any use whatsoever. (I emphasize: that's true of Google search results, and of hand-spidering link pages.... the importance of a directory is that all other methods ARE so spam-cluttered.)
Now, if a suggestion to the ODP is not helpful (in the editor's opinion) the very LAST thing the editor will want to do, is ANYTHING that would elicit further non-help from the same source. But the crux of the matter is: in our experience, any response is likely to result in more (or repeated) suggestions.
So in the system, there's no reaction to an unhelpful suggestion. And at this point I can't imagine that changing.
As for the "two months": all work on the ODP is asynchronous. Nobody measures the interval between any two events, because that is never never NEVER a significant datum. (The only statistic that could possibly matter is the AVERAGE RATE of constructive editing events -- the ORDER or exact TIMING just doesn't matter.
Some sites are listed before they were ever suggested--this happens VERY often. Some perfectly listable sites were suggested four years before they were listed--but this happens much less often. There is no discernable pattern--it's just what kind of sites people choose to suggest, and what kind of sites editors choose to look for (and neither of those is predictable in detail.)
This is unlikely to change either. Think about it. I did some work on Medieval Welsh Literature yesterday. Now, I didn't put out a notice two months ago saying "I'm going to be working on MWL in early April -- please, all site suggestors, focus your suggestions in this area!" (I couldn't have told people that even if I had wanted to: I didn't know I'd be working there until yesterday when I started on it. And I didn't even start out anywhere close to that category, I sort of drifted there.)
From the site suggestor, the perspective is really the same. There's no way of putting out a notice, "I made a suggestion in Paleolithic Scottish Music yesterday, please someone edit in that category in the next two months!" And there's no practicable way of handling 5000 such notices daily anyway. So we don't try.
Radical asynchronicity. It's the source of the ODP's unique efficiency. There's no way to control when things happen, there's no time or energy invested in TRYING to control. In the present moment, you "just do. Or not do."
For anyone who is new to the Directory Forum I ask that you read the Directory Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com] as it sets forth the ground rules concerning DMOZ related threads.
[edited by: Webwork at 9:50 pm (utc) on April 6, 2007]
Highly disrecommended: unless one category is a geographic locality and the other is a topical focus (and that only if a site has both global relevance and specific local interest -- such as a symphony orchestra, or a storefront that also does mail order.)
>I guess you can't win it unless you're in it.
I'm no expert, since I'm just not in that game. But I don't think this is true (either way, it's not relevant for us editors.) Lots of people in this forum claim to have been successful in Google (and financially) without an ODP listing. Check out the Google (and other search engine) forums here.
You probably do better to think of Google and the ODP as independent issues. Yes, our underlying goals are similar, and ideally we'd feature many of the same sites. And yes, there is a (small) positive feedback: an ODP listing boosts Google rank; a good Google search result increases the chances of an ODP listing.) But our approaches are so different that you can't constructively target both with the same gun.
>My site is for a legitimate business in a rather mundane sector. It seems business is under-represented in the DMOZ (only 252,283 listings). My primary sector has only 124 listings but could easily have 2,000.
My impression would be similar. I've seen the difference in local categories, where the ODP has several times the number of charitable/educational/religious/hobby organizations that Yahoo does, but the ratio is reversed for businesses. So, yes, I suspect the volunteer editors tend to focus more on voluntary-type subjects. (I know I do.)
Another factor was that the category we submitted to was a category where a large number of affiliate and MLM ad spam sites were submitted. The percentage of legitimate, non-commercial sites was very small. Editing that category was a thankless job.
As I said before, I volunteered as a "Greenbuster" editor (a sort of trainee in a new category without approval rights) and did a lot of the grunt work to clean out the hundreds and hundreds of spam sites from the gigantic submission queue. This consisted of leaving short messages for each submission with a recommendation to list or delete or send to another category and the evidence for the recommendation. Since a lot of submissions were clearly violations of the submission charter for the category (such as multilevel marketing sites), this made things faster for the main editors, when they occasionally got around to logging in and working.
Not disclosing my interest in the category was against the rules, but I didn't do anything to specifically advance my site or sabotage competitors' sites. I just did a lot of really tedious work to help them clean out the obvious trash from the submisssion queue, which allowed editors to eventually get around to my site.
Maybe I should volunteer to be an editor, although I'd have to obfuscate the truth to even be considered.
Not necessarily - unless the "truth" is that you want to do something that's against the rules! I was very upfront about my desire to list my own site when I applied and still got accepted. IMHO it's more a question of whether it's worth it to you to take the time to prepare the application.
If there are new or side issues you would like to dialogue about or explore please start a new thread. If it comports with the Directory Forum Charter it will go live.
Thanks for the helpful answers as always.